It has been a place of pilgrimage since the medieval period. The largest city in the country is Birkirkara.  According to European Spatial Planning Observation Network, Malta is identified as functional urban area (FUA) with the population of 355,000. ), St John Ambulance and Red Cross Malta who provide first aid/nursing services during events involving crowds. The Malta Medical Students' Association (MMSA) is a separate body representing Maltese medical students, and is a member of EMSA and IFMSA.  , Malta and Tunisia in 2006 discussed the commercial exploitation of the continental shelf between their countries, particularly for petroleum exploration. , Malta experienced significant emigration as a result of the collapse of a construction boom in 1907 and after the Second World War, when the birth rate increased significantly, but in the 20th century, most emigrants went to destinations in the New World, particularly to Australia, Canada, and the United States.  Little is known about the Byzantine rule in Malta: the island depended on the theme of Sicily and had Greek Governors and a small Greek garrison. , Phoenician traders colonised the islands sometime after 1000 BC as a stop on their trade routes from the eastern Mediterranean to Cornwall, joining the natives on the island. , The predominant religion in Malta is Catholicism. There are a number of small political parties in Malta which have no parliamentary representation. However, towards the end of the 19th century, the economy began declining, and by the 1940s Malta's economy was in serious crisis. The inhabitants subsequently asked Britain to assume sovereignty over the islands under the conditions laid out in a Declaration of Rights, stating that "his Majesty has no right to cede these Islands to any power...if he chooses to withdraw his protection, and abandon his sovereignty, the right of electing another sovereign, or of the governing of these Islands, belongs to us, the inhabitants and aborigines alone, and without control." , The Order of Saint John (also known as the Knights Hospitaller, or the Knights of Malta) were the rulers of Malta and Gozo between 1530 and 1798. The depiction of aspects of the Punic religion, together with the use of the Greek alphabet, testifies to the resilience of Punic and Greek culture in Malta long after the arrival of the Romans. , A number of grapes are endemic to Malta, including Girgentina and Ġellewża.  The notion that Count Roger I reportedly tore off a portion of his checkered red-and-white banner and presented it to the Maltese in gratitude for having fought on his behalf, forming the basis of the modern flag of Malta, is founded in myth. Modern Mnarja festivals take place in and around the woodlands of Buskett, just outside the town of Rabat.  After tough negotiations, a referendum was held on 8 March 2003, which resulted in a favourable vote. Malta is in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea directly south of Italy and north of Libya. The Roman period introduced highly decorative mosaic floors, marble colonnades, and classical statuary, remnants of which are beautifully preserved and presented in the Roman Domus, a country villa just outside the walls of Mdina.  According to the United Nations, about 95 per cent of the area of Malta is urban and the number grows every year.  The archipelago is located on the African tectonic plate. Around the time of 3500 BC, these people built some of the oldest existing free-standing structures in the world in the form of the megalithic Ġgantija temples on Gozo; other early temples include those at Ħaġar Qim and Mnajdra.. The principal source for the public supply of water has for several centuries been the main sea-level water table. , All censuses since 1842 have shown a slight excess of females over males. Malta is an Apostolic See; the Acts of the Apostles tells of how St. Paul, on his way from Jerusalem to Rome to face trial, was shipwrecked on the island of "Melite", which many Bible scholars identify with Malta, an episode dated around AD 60. , After the fall of Phoenicia in 332 BC, the area came under the control of Carthage, a former Phoenician colony. Unlike normal issues, these coins are not accepted in all the eurozone. Since 1808 all bishops of Malta have been Maltese. The coast of Malta features many bays and ports. Car ownership in Malta is exceedingly high, considering the very small size of the islands; it is the fourth-highest in the European Union. In 1971, the Malta Labour Party led by Dom Mintoff won the general elections, resulting in Malta declaring itself a republic on 13 December 1974 (Republic Day) within the Commonwealth, with the President as head of state.  One of the three principal islands of the Maltese archipelago, the island of Malta is the largest of the chain. For instance, a €10 Maltese commemorative coin cannot be used in any other country. 2012 saw the performances of worldwide acclaimed artists Flo Rida, Nelly Furtado and Will.i.am at Fosos Square in Floriana. , Parliament established the National School of Art in the 1920s. The island-state of Malta is located in the Mediterranean Sea, south of Sicily (Italy), it consists of three islands: Malta, Gozo, and Comino, of which Malta is the largest island. As part of the Treaty of Paris in 1814, Malta became a British colony. , A 2010 Charities Aid Foundation study found that the Maltese were the most generous people in the world, with 83% contributing to charity. Although the event was not highly advertised, and was controversial due to the closing of an arterial street on the day, it is deemed to have been successful and will most likely be organised every year. The festival is usually held in the last week of April every year. However, it is no longer worn in modern Malta. They lie on the submerged Malta-Hyblean Platform, a wide undersea shelf bridge that connects the Ragusa Platform of southern Sicily with the Tripolitana Platform of southern Libya. More recent additions include calculators (refers to accounting), thread (fashion) and wooden spoons (cooking and a great appetite).  The number of atheists has doubled from 2014 to 2018. " After the siege they decided to increase Malta's fortifications, particularly in the inner-harbour area, where the new city of Valletta, named in honour of Valette, was built. , The National Development and Social Fund from the Individual Investor Programme, a citizenship by investment programme also known as the "citizenship scheme", has become a significant income sources for the government of Malta, adding 432,000,000 euro to the budget in 2018. In the warmest month – August – the typical maximum temperature ranges from 28 to 34 °C (82 to 93 °F) during the day and minimum 20 to 24 °C (68 to 75 °F) at night. Maltese has a Semitic base with substantial borrowing from Sicilian, Italian, a little French, and more recently and increasingly, English. It is presumed the population arrived from Sicily because of the similarity of Maltese dolmens to some small constructions found on the largest island of the Mediterranean sea. The pound replaced the Maltese scudo in 1825.  Additionally, residents of Malta exhibited an ecological footprint of consumption of 5.8 global hectares of biocapacity per person, resulting in a sizable biocapacity deficit. Infants who select a pencil or pen will be writers. , It is said that under the Knights, this was the one day in the year when the Maltese were allowed to hunt and eat wild rabbit, which was otherwise reserved for the hunting pleasures of the Knights. The adult literacy rate is 99.5 per cent. Yet after spending several days in the boonies of the Montana prairie, Malta had everything that someone longing for civilization could ever want. Malta also boasts voluntary organisations such as Alpha Medical (Advanced Care), the Emergency Fire & Rescue Unit (E.F.R.U. , Maltese Sign Language is used by signers in Malta. Of the estimated 3,000 Muslims in Malta, approximately 2,250 are foreigners, approximately 600 are naturalised citizens, and approximately 150 are native-born Maltese.  Malta remained under the Byzantine Empire until 870, when it fell to the Arabs. Air Malta employs 1,547 staff. The 1901 and 1911 censuses came closest to recording a balance. Malta is a small island in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea with a considerable amount of advantages. Traditional Maltese delicacies served at a baptismal feast include biskuttini tal-magħmudija (almond macaroons covered in white or pink icing), it-torta tal-marmorata (a spicy, heart-shaped tart of chocolate-flavoured almond paste), and a liqueur known as rożolin, made with rose petals, violets, and almonds. A mayor and a deputy mayor are elected by and from the councillors. Malta voted in favour of divorce legislation in a referendum held on 28 May 2011. Where is Malta located? People who are eligible to vote in the election of the Maltese House of Representatives as well as a resident citizens of the EU are eligible to vote. The Rococo movement was greatly enhanced by the relocation to Malta of Antoine de Favray (1706–1798), who assumed the position of court painter to Grand Master Pinto in 1744. Tourism infrastructure has increased dramatically over the years and a number of hotels are present on the island, although overdevelopment and the destruction of traditional housing is of growing concern. , Malta achieved its independence as the State of Malta on 21 September 1964 (Independence Day) after intense negotiations with the United Kingdom, led by Maltese Prime Minister George Borġ Olivier. , The annual average relative humidity is high, averaging 75%, ranging from 65% in July (morning: 78% evening: 53%) to 80% in December (morning: 83% evening: 73%)..  Although they opposed the Count, the Maltese voiced their loyalty to the Sicilian Crown, which so impressed King Alfonso that he did not punish the people for their rebellion. A defence agreement was signed soon after independence, and after being re-negotiated in 1972, expired on 31 March 1979. Malta’s capital is a remarkable place.  After that, Malta became Foederata Civitas, a designation that meant it was exempt from paying tribute or the rule of Roman law, and fell within the jurisdiction of the province of Sicily. Malta is an island archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea and is located in Southern Europe.  While the bulk of population continued to be constituted by the old, Latinized dwellers, during this period its religious allegiance oscillated between the Pope and the Patriarch of Constantinople. In recent years however the local Maltese housing index has doubled pushing property and rental prices to very high and almost unaffordable levels in the Maltese islands with the slight exception of Gozo. Public education was organised along principles laid down by Bonaparte himself, providing for primary and secondary education. , Neo-classicism made some inroads among local Maltese artists in the late-18th century, but this trend was reversed in the early 19th century, as the local Church authorities – perhaps in an effort to strengthen Catholic resolve against the perceived threat of Protestantism during the early days of British rule in Malta – favoured and avidly promoted the religious themes embraced by the Nazarene movement of artists. However, some watercourses have fresh water running all year round at Baħrija near Ras ir-Raħeb, at l-Imtaħleb and San Martin, and at Lunzjata Valley in Gozo. The national language of Malta is Maltese, while English is the country's official language. Malta's population density of 1,282 per square km (3,322/sq mi) is by far the highest in the EU and one of the highest in the world.  According to a Eurobarometer survey conducted in 2019, 83% of the population identified as Catholic. , Malta adopted a policy of neutrality in 1980. , Traditional Maltese proverbs reveal cultural importance of childbearing and fertility: "iż-żwieġ mingħajr tarbija ma fihx tgawdija" (a childless marriage cannot be a happy one). There are also a Seventh-day Adventist church in Birkirkara, and a New Apostolic Church congregation founded in 1983 in Gwardamangia. In the 6 months – from June to November – the average sea temperature exceeds 20 °C (68 °F). The close connection between Mnarja and rabbit stew (Maltese: "fenkata") remains strong today. The census held in November 2005 counted an estimated 96 percent of the population. 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